Embryonic stem cell research is at the leading edge of a series of moral hazards. The initial stem cell researcher was at first reluctant to begin his research, fearing it might be used for human cloning. Scientists have already cloned a sheep. Researchers are telling us the next step could be to clone human beings to create individual designer stem cells, essentially to grow another you, to be available in case you need another heart or lung or liver.George Bush, when you're right, you're right.
My administration must decide whether to allow federal funds, your tax dollars, to be used for scientific research on stem cells derived from human embryos.
Bet you have not heard the news this week about the greatest scientific breakthrough since the discovery of DNA? (I'll leave it up to you to figure out why this is not being reported. It's not rocket science.)
Well, Charles Krauthammer wrote a piece in the Daily News worth pointing out.
"If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough."Bush was right to tread carefully, to not just throw money at something that had potential to further diminish the value of human life.
- James Thomson
A decade ago, Thomson was the first to isolate human embryonic stem cells. Last week, he (and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka) announced one of the great scientific breakthroughs since the discovery of DNA: an embryo-free way to produce genetically matched stem cells.
Even a scientist who cares not a whit about the morality of embryo destruction will adopt this technique because it is so simple and powerful. The embryonic stem cell debate is over.
Which allows a bit of reflection on the storm that has raged ever since the August 2001 announcement of President Bush's stem cell policy. The verdict is clear: Rarely has a President - so vilified for a moral stance - been so thoroughly vindicated.
Why? Precisely because he took a moral stance. Precisely because, as Thomson puts it, Bush was made "a little bit uncomfortable" by the implications of embryonic experimentation. Precisely because he therefore decided that some moral line had to be drawn.
In doing so, he invited unrelenting demagoguery by an unholy trinity of Democratic politicians, research scientists and patient advocates who insisted that anyone who would put any restriction on the destruction of human embryos could be acting only for reasons of cynical politics rooted in dogmatic religiosity - a "moral ayatollah," as Sen. Tom Harkin so scornfully put it.
Now that the embryonic stem cell debate is over, I wonder what our wonderful Governor Jon Corzine has to say about that defeated ballot question now?
Mr. Corzine — who made embryonic stem cell research a major issue in his 2005 campaign for governor — blamed himself and other supporters of the measure for not doing a good enough job educating the public about the potential economic benefits. He also said the campaign could have done a better job clarifying that the $450 million was to be borrowed over 10 years, rather than all at once.Oh, we were educated enough alright. I'll admit, for some New Jersyians it was only about the money, but for some, myself included, it was about the sanctity of human life.
Aren't you smart enough to see that Jon?